Turning the Page

While the view of the Harper government is understandable, it still seems unsatisfying to me. Perhaps it’s just my view of Guantanamo Bay coloring my thoughts.

The Harper government holds to the view Khadr is a dangerous, unrepentant terrorist, brought up in the notorious Khadr family that had close ties to terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

That is not the view of teachers at King’s, nor of Khadr’s his psychiatrist from Guantanamo, retired U.S. military officer Stephen Xenakis, who visited the prisoner this fall. They see him as a thoughtful, committed student who wants to resume a productive life in the community.

If he’s not allowed to turn the page, what else can he ever be? I believe everybody deserves a second chance, but I can see why it can be very difficult to give people one.

For less extreme cases, it seems like second chances can actually help. This RSA animate video is about honesty and dishonesty, and they reduced cheating in an interesting way:

If you’re cheating lot, maybe you need to be able to open a new page.

So we did this experiment, so we do a non-Catholic kind of confession. People cheat a little bit, they cheat a lot, we give them a chance to say what they have done badly, we give them a chance to ask for forgiveness, from whatever spirits they believe in. What happens after those two actions together? Cheating goes down. Opening a new page does seem to be very successful.

There seems to be a built in assumption that you can’t eliminate cheating entirely. People will cheat, but you can reduce the amount of cheating by allowing them to confess, and giving them a second chance.

While it seems second best, any reduction in cheating would be good.

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